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Easter: Hope from Suffering

  • March 26, 2016 10:54 pm

dreamstimefree_186890[1]I often think about one Easter spent in Georgia, somewhere back in the 60’s. My Dad spread blue fur around our hotel room. I’m assuming the Easter bunny was blue. I think that is what Dad was suggesting. He (Mr. Bunny) always took a nice bite out of the carrots I left for him. I believe he did on that occasion as well. Easter was blue fur and bunnies, and carrots with tooth marks in them. And who can forget Easter egg hunts, and being dressed up in patent leather shoes and your finest church clothes?

Those days however, are long gone. What used to be a holiday filled with candy and toys, has now become something much more to me. The Easter story brings hope. Hope of life eternal and grace beyond measure. Hope that streams from putting our faith in the one whose crucifixion we remember. When I decided to become a Christian, to follow Christ, I began to see how the Bible message as a whole became a reason for celebration. The Easter message was there in much of the Scriptures. Scripture was worth studying, memorizing, and above all following.

I would also discover that the most quoted Easter verses did not provide the whole picture. Suffering had to come before joy, fear before worship and God’s plan had to move forward into a message for others to hear. The message of Easter can be found in both Old and New Testament verses. It’s been said; that the message of the New Testament is concealed in the Old Testament. The message of hope therefore isn’t limited to just the standard Easter Scriptures. It is woven through the entire canon of Scripture. Bible verses specific to our Easter celebrations, stand as promises and bring us hope while Old Testament symbolism points to something much more.

It may not sound very hopeful to look at the suffering the Cross carried with it yet Psalm 22 reminds us of the suffering necessary to bring us future hope. Christ’s very words ” My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?” (Psalm 22:1, NIV) reminds us that the pain was a necessary part of the process. The whole Psalm bears witness of this. I have always marveled that the words uttered on the Cross (Matthew 27:46, NIV) were recorded in that Psalm long before. We cannot possibly fathom this suffering yet it reminds us of why we have our Easter celebrations at all. His suffering had to come before the triumph. His friends, family and followers had to endure great pain, before unspeakable joy. Though they pale in comparison, sometimes our trials precede our victories. We have to deal with pain in our lives, often before we see the glory on the other side. Entombed in our heart are many trials, many days of suffering and pain.  But Resurrection power bursts through as our heart is renewed and filled with hope and joy.

The four gospel books contain various accounts of the resurrection of Jesus. In Matthew 28 an angel explains to Mary Magdalene and ‘another Mary’ that Jesus’ body is no longer in the tomb.

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. (Matthew 28:8-10, NIV.)

Our worship should flow out of this very scene. Because of what He did for us, these Bible verses that celebrate Easter, can be personalized. We can worship at the feet of the Lord, because of the very fact that the tomb is empty. The. tomb. is. empty. He has risen. Our fear of any situation can be replaced with joy. The joy invokes worship at His feet.

In Luke Jesus left us this word “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” (Luke 24:44, NIV). The New Testament hope is concealed in the Old Testament Scriptures. Our Easter celebration is not made up of blue fur, and bunnies. Rather it is a celebration of hope. Hope based on a God who kept His promises, and fulfilled His word. I can live in light of the ‘everything’ that must be fulfilled.

This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (Luke 24:44, NIV).

The Biblical celebration of Easter has to encompass the Cross of suffering, the joy of an empty tomb and the fulfillment of Scripture, past and future. From our own corner of the world we can preach the Easter message to others. We can share Easter verses of encouragement and hope. We can turn our fear to joy, and share that joy with those who need to hear. Be blessed and encouraged this Easter. Our world grows increasingly more troubled day by day. This Easter, embrace your Biblical hope as you live out your day to day life. Take your suffering and turn it to celebration, over the life that was given, and the life that now lives and intercedes on our behalf.

 

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September 11

  • September 10, 2015 4:14 pm

fourth-200x246Never forget…….

 

 

 

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Too Much To-Do?

  • August 25, 2015 1:43 pm
#TameYourList

#TameYourList

Join me at P31 OBS for the new Fall study.  I’ll see you on the main blog! Many opportunities available for participation.

Visit Glynnis’ web site for a great post on the study!

July 4th: Crafty Ideas for Holiday Celebrations

  • June 22, 2015 9:40 pm

fourth-200x246Summer is upon us here in the U.S., and the holiday we’re focusing on is July 4. Many Americans see this as a day to gather friends and family together for a summer meal. Whether before or after the fireworks, there will be hungry mouths to feed. Many of us fill the day with traditional meals and activities. Some face the stress of trying to find things for the kids to do, while they await sunset and fireworks.

This year, why not provide the excited tots, teens and tweens with some new options? Plan your usual holiday dinner, but incorporate some crafty projects. Give your family the task of inviting friends to your family holiday meal. Ask them whom they would like to invite. Then, consider involving your children in some artful ideas for a Fourth of July theme. Crafts are an excellent way to shift the focus from the waiting and anticipation of those fireworks, over to a special meal designed for family and friends. Take a look at sites such as Better Homes and Gardens for a wealth of ideas via slideshow, or The Crafty Crow for children’s food and craft fun.

  • Start with invitations. Card making is all the rage, and it shouldn’t take you too long to come up with a design. Even if you have never made cards before, an online search will lead you to all sorts of ideas and projects. Deliver the end result to your invited guests. Help children personalize the invitation for the people they are asking to dinner. You can take this activity as far as you want to go, but it’s guaranteed to delight someone! Your kids will be proud when invited guests respond to their invitation.
  • Next you’ll want to create a focal point for your dinner table. Look online for ideas that go beyond the holiday table and include yard and porch decorations as well. You won’t go wrong conducting an online search for holiday yard and house decorations.

For a special table design give this a try: Grab some special ribbon and tie a few sparklers together; add some custom tags labeled with each guest’s name and you have an inexpensive fun decoration. After dinner everyone will have his or her own fireworks to light. An online search will provide you with nametag ideas. Placeholders are a fun way to make guests feel welcome. Tags are readily available and easily decorated.

  • Have some fun planning your tableware. Yes, you can just go to the local party shop and buy things but why not add some creative touches of your own? For instance, white cups create a blank canvas for your family to decorate. Purchase a white paper tablecloth, supply markers, colored pencils or crayons and have everyone doodle some patriotic art. Throw in some fun stickers for an added artistic touch. Remember that adults love to color too! This makes a great activity while waiting for the meal.
  • Last but not least, create some food related crafts using your traditional recipes, or new offerings. Barbecued meats may not inspire you, but summer is an excellent time to be crafty with fruits, and vegetables. Take a trip to your local grower’s market for colorful seasonal offerings and turn them into table art. Use small American flags for patriotic touches on your food items.

This year, engage your family and friends in the preparations. Besides drawing everyone into healthy activities, you might possibly establish some new traditions for future celebrations. Bookmark some web sites for project ideas for future events and keep in mind; there are no mistakes in crafting! Don’t worry about your talent or lack of.

The arts of cooking and crafting go hand in hand.Pencil Crayons 1

Family, food, friends and a little crafty touch! You’ll find the resources to be endless, and the rewards to be great.